No one gets behind the wheel expecting to be in a car accident. However, in Georgia, car accidents are a common occurrence. In fact, over 1,000 drivers are injured in a car accident every day. That comes out to about 70 car accidents an hour. While getting into a car crash is overwhelming on its own, not knowing what your rights are or how to collect compensation can be even worse. Here’s what you need to know about filing a personal injury claim after a car crash and why a car wreck Macon, GA lawyer is key to winning your case.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
The first moments after a car accident can be scary and overwhelming. However, the steps you’ll need to take will vary depending on the severity of the wreck. If you or anyone else is severely injured, contact 911 as soon as possible to get an ambulance to transfer injured parties to the emergency room.
If no one appears to be seriously injured, pull off somewhere safe on the side of the road, if you can. The last thing you want is to risk another possible accident or injury by being out in the middle of the road. Next, swap information with the other driver. This includes their name, phone number, insurance company, and policy number. You should also get the other driver’s license plate number, make, model, and color of the vehicle. If there were witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information as well. Your lawyer can contact them as part of their investigation to get a clearer idea of what they saw and how the accident occurred. Also, be sure to get a copy of the police report and take pictures/video of the accident scene.
After this, you should seek medical attention. Even if you feel fine, many injuries may not show up right away. These include internal bleeding and traumatic brain injuries. Similarly, these injuries could be masked by the adrenaline. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
Last but not least, you need to call your insurance company to file a claim.
Remember, a good rule of thumb after a Georgia car accident is to get as much information as you can. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to help you determine what information is pertinent to your case and what isn’t.
How is Fault Determined in Georgia Car Accidents?
The first thing you need to know after a car accident in Georgia is how fault is determined. Georgia is what’s known as an at-fault state. This means that the driver who was responsible for the accident will be held liable for damages. So, if you were injured in an accident that you caused, you will not be able to hold the other party liable for any damages.
Here are the most common examples of fault in a Georgia car accident:
- Using a cell phone or engaging in other cognitive distractions
- Not keeping a safe following distance from the car ahead and rear-ending them
- Engaging in reckless behavior such as excessive speeding, swerving, changing lanes without notice, or weaving in and out of traffic
- Drinking and driving
In some cases, a driver may be held liable if their car wasn’t properly maintained. For example, the driver knowingly got behind the wheel when their tail lights or turning signals were out.
How to Prove Fault
In order to prove fault after a car accident, you will need to collect various forms of evidence and documentation. This includes:
- Police report
- Witness statements
- Camera/surveillance footage
- Photos/video of the accident scene and vehicle damage
- Road markings, such as skid marks
In many cases, your lawyer may be able to download evidence from your vehicle’s “black box.” These electronic devices record your vehicle’s speed, location, driving frequency, and distance traveled. Since 2013, all new vehicles are required to have a “black box” in case of a motor vehicle accident.
Why You May Need to File a Personal Injury Claim
Even though Georgia drivers will have to file a claim with their insurance company, sometimes the amount of money you need exceeds the insurance policy. Depending on the severity of the accident, many car accident victims may be left with ongoing and expensive medical bills, or face loss of income from the inability to go to work.
A personal injury claim can help you recover the compensation you need to pay for your medical bills and other expenses so you can move forward with your life.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?
Georgia residents only have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. This window is known as the statute of limitations. Even though two years seems like a long time, it can go by quickly. Once this window closes, so does your ability to collect the compensation you need.
This is why it’s important to consult with an experienced car wreck Macon, GA attorney as soon as possible after your accident. They will investigate your case, answer your questions, and work with you to get you the money and justice you deserve.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident? Let the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Reynolds, Horne & Survant Help You File a Claim
At Reynolds, Horne & Survant, we understand just how challenging it can be to deal with the aftermath of a car accident. That’s why we don’t want you to deal with this alone. Our experienced car wreck Macon, GA injury lawyers have been helping car accident victims for more than 40 years. We will investigate your case and fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. Give us a call today at (478) 217-2582 to schedule a consultation.